Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (8Nov05)

As I contemplated this week's Cheap Theater options, one question came to mind: If I were an old man in black vinyl hooker boots, which movie would I want to see? Paul chose The 40-Year-Old Virgin (which, if you'll recall from a couple of weeks ago, the loud old people from Wedding Crashers had already seen, though the old woman was blocking it from her memory, for some reason). I figured it was a pretty good guess.

I sat anxiously in the car on the way to the theater, hoping to see what kind of ensemble Hooker Boot Guy had thrown together this week. But alas, we didn't cross paths. Instead, there was mass confusion outside the theater, where those waiting had formed one ginormous line. Everyone was complaining about the line, despite the fact that it was moving quickly, since it led to two ticket windows. But things got even worse when a well-meaning ticket-seller came out to tell everyone to form two lines, which led to utter hysteria and possibly the brutal trampling of a few weaker moviegoers.

But that wasn't the last of the mayhem. While standing in line, someone noticed an ad that's been hanging from the ticket window since about June, advertising a special deal at the theater -- if you bring the whole family (of four or more) on Mondays, admission is only 50 cents each.

"They've changed 50-cent night to Monday!" someone gasped. The rumor spread through the crowd (despite the fact that the ticket price sign clearly stated: "All day Tuesday: 50c"). People were obviously shocked and appalled by the thought of having to pay a hole $1.50 to see a movie. I was afraid they might revolt -- and while I generally think of myself as pretty tough, the woman behind me was huge, and to get beaten by her over scandalously high movie admission prices. I started to slowly walk away, leaving Paul to buy our still-just-50-cents-each tickets.

As we wandered through the lobby, I kept my eyes peeled for vinyl boots. I found none.

The ticket-ripper (his name was Derek, incidentally) was busy chatting with a coworker who appeared to be scanning the lobby for chicks, so I decided to hold back with my Be Kind to Ticket-Rippers thing for the week. He did, however, take the time to direct us to our theater, which was already filling up. All of the coveted back-row seats were occupied, so we hesitantly moved farther down the aisle.

I was stunned to see how many old people had chosen to see this movie. An old couple sat in front of us, and it made me feel especially uncomfortable, like I'd decided to take my grandparents to see a new porn flick. Because this movie isn't a cute, cuddly comedy. It is, as you might imagine from the title, a two-hour attempt to get a guy laid in any way possible. As I told Paul, it's quite clear that grandparents have changed since I was a kid. There's no way you would have found my grandparents there (though my grandpa, who's now 93 and usually somewhat medicated, might actually enjoy it now).

This week's moviegoing experience was a study in laughter. After all, the movie may have been, at times, painfully crude, but it was also just plain hilarious at other times.

In general, I amused myself by observing the waves of laughter as they grew through the theater -- from a quiet snicker to an all-encompassing, theater-wide belly laugh.

Specifically, though, I encountered all kinds. At times, I made out a hint of Shrieker coming from the other side of the theater. But the guys behind me and across the aisle were even more entertaining. They had the same laugh -- a loud, honking laugh (much like Balki on Perfect Strangers. They'd laugh and laugh and laugh, well after everyone else had stopped, punctuating their laughter with the occasional loud, echoing clap. Then they'd cool down gradually, with some half-laugh-half-sighs. By the time they wound down all the way, there was usually something new to laugh about, so they'd start up again. It was pretty much constant, actually.

Meanwhile, Paul, too, was joining in on my sociological study of The Cheap Theater. He spent the movie studying a big guy who showed up alone and took a seat a few rows ahead of us. The man had apparently spent the entire two hours laughing that heavy, whole-body-shaking chortle -- and Paul eagerly relayed the details to me once we'd left the theater. And I was very proud of him. For so long, when I commented on people in the theater, he'd look at me funny and ask, "Did you actually catch any of the movie?" But I think Hooker Boot Guy has changed his outlook. Now, checking out people at The Cheap Theater is fun. It's a challenge -- like a Where's Waldo book.

As for my review of the movie, it's coming soon to (you can sign up for the newsletter, and you'll get a weekly listing of the latest reviews -- and now's a good time to sign up, since there's an incredible subscribers-only contest going on). Until then, I'll leave you with one piece of advice: don't see this movie on a first date. There won't be a second.


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